capital ship gravity draft removes combat challenge

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Killjaeden
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capital ship gravity draft removes combat challenge

Post by Killjaeden » Wed, 28. Mar 18, 21:11

Will X4 feature the "gravity draft" feature like in Rebirth, where you can stop in mid-space close to a capital but the "gravity" of the capitalship pulls you along with it?

To me this is a huge killer of combat challenge. With this drafting it is super easy to defeat enemy ships by staying in their blind spots. It completely removes the element of speed in combat with capitalship vs. smaller playership, it reduced it to a matter of positioning only.

The player can position himself into a blindspot, wait until he recharges shields or weapons, then pop out to pinpoint surface elements and one by one cripple the capital ship. Staying in the blindspot requires no efford whatsoever. And it also made blind spots exploitable to the maximum, namely by positions himself so that only one weapon can hit the player while the player shoots at it, allowing him to deal with weapons one by one.

In X3 he had to work for being able to stay in a spot where a capital ship can't fire, because it moved all the time and you had to maneuver to keep in this spot. Depending on the capital ships speed, maneuverability and the utilisation of it he sometimes had to put in a lot of work for this to avoid damage- > good. The only thing that made it fairly easy where the omnipotent maneuvering thrusters that could go faster than some capital ships main engines. There was no targeting of subcomponents in X3, so it didnt matter where the player aimed for damage -> bad, because he had no incentive or reason to get out of the blind spot.

Now if both worlds would be combined (no gravity draft, but targetable subcomponents) it would result in much more challenging combat, because he needs to target subcomponents that move in space, but can't effordlessly stay in a blindspot and plink away at single components one by one. Because his ship has maneuver limits (cant fly in every direction equally fast) he is forced to disengage when he is too close and reengage when he is leaving effective range.
Alternatively he needs to manually manuever back to a blindspot all the while adjusting for enemy movements. This will result in the player making errors, overshooting his intended position and potentially getting a battery of laser fire in his face -> skill based challenge.


Not only does this apply to direct combat, but to all non-friendly ship interactions (boarding, stealing cargo, etc). It forces to fly the ship to stay in the same spot, which in turn gives the player something to do, even if he just needs to "wait" in a spot relative to the target (e.g. while offloading marines or stealing cargo crates). With gravity draft on, he justs twiddles his thumbs and gets bored in the same situation.

I think the gravity draft is contraproductive to provide challenging and engaging combat mechanic and should at least be configurable so it can be switched off to increase combat challenge.
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ZaphodBeeblebrox
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Post by ZaphodBeeblebrox » Wed, 28. Mar 18, 22:24

Just one question really, how many Fulmekron have you captured using this method?
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Post by Sandalpocalypse » Wed, 28. Mar 18, 23:24

i really liked the 'gravity draft'. fighting and then hiding were not problems with 'gravity draft' per se - after all sitting in blind spots and hosing a capital ship to death was absolutely a thing in x3 as well.

there were other factors that were more important.

1.) Lack of burst damage - to accomplish anything on a capital ship you had to really hose it for extended periods of time with a lot of weapon switching - you couldn't accomplish anything with a 'firing run'. I anticipate this won't materially change, although hopefully there'll be less weapons witching.

2.) Shields as Afterburners - you couldn't afford to have low shields, and you couldn't afford to boost into or away from a capital ship too much; it was always the safest and best option to hide in close and wait for regen. Again, 'firing runs' were counterproductive. X4 is decoupling shields and afterburners so this should be fixed.

3.) Global hull % - you could inflict equal damage on a capital no matter where you were. hiding in close and shooting a flange sticking out will eventually kill the whole thing. Suggestion: If capitals had specific weak points where fighters had to shoot to damage them, and those weak points were 'destroyed' after taking a certain amount of hull damage, then you are more encouraged to engage the whole vessel. Other CVs - or anti-capital torpedos - would presumably ignore these restrictions.

4.) Emphasis on Capital Vessels - X4 will apparently feature a lot more small and medium ships compared to XR, ideally involving the return of non-boarding piracy as viable. Additionally, there will be greater open-space threats for your vessel.
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Post by Axeface » Wed, 28. Mar 18, 23:52

This is a hard one to decide, for one I see why they added the feature, but at the same time I hate the weirdness of it (for lack of a better word) and how overpowering it is. I hate anything that overpowers the player - the AI cant do so many things that the player can, it disconnects you from the game world and makes the player seem like... well, a player. The player needs the same limitations that the AI has, and the AI needs to be good enough to exploit all the systems - something sadly lacking in the past.

One thing that I did like with the grav-draft though was being able to boost to a capital ship that is also in boost, latch on, and hack it in the middle of nowhere (while its still boosting :D ) - there is something very exciting about that. You have to aim properly or the target gets away, feels very cool.

So i'de suggest:-

1. Set the feature into the lore with a device, allow friendly small ships to cruise along with friendly capitals as this is how the device is designed (shield tech modification?)
2. No hitching a ride on enemy ships UNLESS...
3. ...ships in boost, for some funky lore reason (make something up) can be 'latched' onto, regardless of who it is.
4. Oh, sidenote - in XR destroying an enemy capitals radar/comm dish doesnt do anything - add subcomponents and features that allow the player to attack an enemy capitals ability to report the attack (temporary scrambling, destroy comm subcomponent, etc).
5. You could even allow the player to hack the grav-draft subsystem to allow them to latch? Just an idea - it shouldnt be easy though (it shouldnt just become the first thing you do while boarding).

If egosoft could make the ai do this too... yeh that would be great.

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Post by adeine » Thu, 29. Mar 18, 01:00

What a weird feature.

If you wanted to make it easier to stay in position/follow a ship, why not implement a speed matching mode like Freespace or other space sims have? (i.e. within the capability of your ship's engines, try to match the speed your currently targeted object is travelling at when activated)

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Post by ajime » Thu, 29. Mar 18, 04:32

adeine wrote:What a weird feature.

If you wanted to make it easier to stay in position/follow a ship, why not implement a speed matching mode like Freespace or other space sims have? (i.e. within the capability of your ship's engines, try to match the speed your currently targeted object is travelling at when activated)
Because the old generation that plays freespace during volition's existence are generally more hardcore(I know I am one :D ). Nowadays you need a split option of easy god mode and normal mode to satisfy both parties if you want a commercially attracting sales, and that is what my understanding of why EG makes such a decision, since options aren't around.

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Post by ZaphodBeeblebrox » Thu, 29. Mar 18, 07:34

In Rebirth.

1) Take out the engines and the jump-drive from a distance using guided missiles.

The "ship is dead in the water."

Even easier than using anything yet suggested. Its not moving, or going anywhere anytime soon.
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Post by LittleBird » Thu, 29. Mar 18, 12:13

adeine wrote:What a weird feature.

If you wanted to make it easier to stay in position/follow a ship, why not implement a speed matching mode like Freespace or other space sims have? (i.e. within the capability of your ship's engines, try to match the speed your currently targeted object is travelling at when activated)
That helps only if you are facing in the direction of the capital ship. And in Freespace they are all extremely slow in turn speed.
The mechanic of X-Rebirth in general is fine and a good adition.

But the gravity feature is just way to precise. It's like you are part of the sip.
Just make the trust adjustment mechanic delayed and a bit unstable. So the player has to do some adjustments.
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Post by GCU Grey Area » Thu, 29. Mar 18, 12:32

Agree with Zaphod. Always prefer to immobilise hostile targets before going anywhere near them. The idea of being dragged along with them really isn't remotely tempting - if I'm stationary relative to the enemy it makes it far too easy for their turrets. High speed attack runs & carpet bombing with swarm missiles is much more my style.

However, that being said, would still prefer the feature is retained in X4. Do find it quite useful for remaining in close proximity to my own ships. Spend most of my time aboard one of my freighters. If it's attacked I like to launch, stay close to the hull & essentially function as an additional turret, or (if there's too many enemies around to remain completely stationary relative to the freighter) try use my own freighter as cover while I hunt them down.

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Post by Vandragorax » Thu, 29. Mar 18, 13:11

I don't see any issues with it personally. The blind spot exists with or without "mass drag" and as soon as you're up against 2 or more cap ships, trying to hide beside one of them becomes a LOT more dangerous, and there are better things you can do to avoid both of their fire.

I see this mechanic as being mostly useful with the fact that we can't pilot these large ships ourselves in Rebirth though, so it feels like it was added just to allow us to hitch a ride to a boosting friendly. Nowadays I prefer just to dock and watch the show from inside the bridge with the bridge mod.

So in conclusion, I think it would be safe to remove this feature now that we'll be able to dock and directly fly a cap ship ourselves, but it also wouldn't hurt at all to leave it in. :)
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Killjaeden
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Post by Killjaeden » Thu, 29. Mar 18, 20:08

Sandalpocalypse wrote:fighting and then hiding were not problems with 'gravity draft' per se - after all sitting in blind spots and hosing a capital ship to death was absolutely a thing in x3 as well.
Yes it was a thing, but as i explained it is more difficult without gravity draft, depending on how the capital maneuvers (and would be even more difficult if the overpowered maneuvering thrusters in X3 would be less powerfull).
Just sitting in blindspot in X3 made sense because you had nothing to focus fire on. In XR you have reason to leave the blindspot.

So in conclusion, I think it would be safe to remove this feature now that we'll be able to dock and directly fly a cap ship ourselves, but it also wouldn't hurt at all to leave it in.
Which is why i would prefer it as game option to disable it (assuming it is already implemented from rebirth and enabled by default). After all its a system that primarily (if not exclusively) affects the player and his maneuvering around other ships. It makes sense for combat challenge to remove it, it makes sense that beeing already implemented makes not much sense to simply delete it. As game option it is best of both worlds.
If it's one thing that is desperately needed at this point is difficulty options for the various game mechanics and content. Just another mention: Mission rewards and challenge. We all know they want to get the "new people" by making everything easy (as proven by the ridiculous mission rewards starting with X3TC and onwards). With options they can perfectly do that, without needing to sacrifice game quality for more experienced players.
1) Take out the engines and the jump-drive from a distance using guided missiles. The "ship is dead in the water."
Even easier than using anything yet suggested. Its not moving, or going anywhere anytime soon.
Which is yet another weakpoint of the combat mechanic that is worth looking at: too easy destruction of surface elements ... also there will be no jumpdrive unfortunately...
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ajime
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Post by ajime » Fri, 30. Mar 18, 04:28

Killjaeden wrote:
Sandalpocalypse wrote:fighting and then hiding were not problems with 'gravity draft' per se - after all sitting in blind spots and hosing a capital ship to death was absolutely a thing in x3 as well.
Yes it was a thing, but as i explained it is more difficult without gravity draft, depending on how the capital maneuvers (and would be even more difficult if the overpowered maneuvering thrusters in X3 would be less powerfull).
Just sitting in blindspot in X3 made sense because you had nothing to focus fire on. In XR you have reason to leave the blindspot.

So in conclusion, I think it would be safe to remove this feature now that we'll be able to dock and directly fly a cap ship ourselves, but it also wouldn't hurt at all to leave it in.
Which is why i would prefer it as game option to disable it (assuming it is already implemented from rebirth and enabled by default). After all its a system that primarily (if not exclusively) affects the player and his maneuvering around other ships. It makes sense for combat challenge to remove it, it makes sense that beeing already implemented makes not much sense to simply delete it. As game option it is best of both worlds.
If it's one thing that is desperately needed at this point is difficulty options for the various game mechanics and content. Just another mention: Mission rewards and challenge. We all know they want to get the "new people" by making everything easy (as proven by the ridiculous mission rewards starting with X3TC and onwards). With options they can perfectly do that, without needing to sacrifice game quality for more experienced players.
1) Take out the engines and the jump-drive from a distance using guided missiles. The "ship is dead in the water."
Even easier than using anything yet suggested. Its not moving, or going anywhere anytime soon.
Which is yet another weakpoint of the combat mechanic that is worth looking at: too easy destruction of surface elements ... also there will be no jumpdrive unfortunately...
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Post by ZaphodBeeblebrox » Fri, 30. Mar 18, 20:07

The ship gravity system was put in by the developers to help the player when flying around L and XL ships. Now you want to remove it for the exact same reason?

This "lets make it harder for the player" kind of thinking leads to game play that for a number of people will make some actions nigh on impossible.

Do we want a game that only a "super elite" with superb reflexes and flying / fighting skills can enjoy. I suspect that there are a number of players like myself that are at the older end of the spectrum, we sometimes need all the help we can get.

If the base game does not come with some control over the level of difficulty that effects this kind of thing, then is this not something that a re-balance mod should address?
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Post by Skeeter » Fri, 30. Mar 18, 22:34

The gravity near cap ships feature is a bit too much hand holding. No need for it, if players cant cap a ship without it well just practice till you can its not that hard to straf or keep a similar speed with cap ships since cap ships in x games dont do real cap ship speeds which if done properly woud easily beat a fighter due to their huge powerful engines. Their only weakness would be manouverability.
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Post by GCU Grey Area » Fri, 30. Mar 18, 23:38

Skeeter wrote:The gravity near cap ships feature is a bit too much hand holding. No need for it, if players cant cap a ship without it well just practice till you can its not that hard to straf or keep a similar speed with cap ships since cap ships in x games dont do real cap ship speeds which if done properly woud easily beat a fighter due to their huge powerful engines. Their only weakness would be manouverability.
They have "huge powerful engines" which easily beat fighters when running at full speed (i.e. boosting). Even with mk5 supercharged engines it would be impossible to keep up with my freighter for long without it (I have on occasion drifted just a little too far, been left behind & had to try to catch up).

It's not just about stealing other people's stuff, it's also damn handy for flying in formation with my own capitals on long journeys. It's also one of those things that's very easy to avoid using if you don't like it. Certainly very rare for me to use it offensively, generally prefer to avoid being a slow moving or stationary target if there are hostile capitals with lots of guns in the vicinity - hence those mk5 supercharged engines.

Hope it's still present in X4.

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